Is this even right? Can the wo/man-children be manipulated in this fashion? Can the wo/man-children earn a union wage for their 'education'? I honestly didn't think upon first hearing this news that I would be as ruffled as I am. I'm ruffled. I don't like it.
Merriam-Webster's definition of University: "1: an institution of higher learning providing facilities for teaching and research and authorized to grant academic degrees; specifically : one made up of an undergraduate division which confers bachelor's degrees and a graduate division which comprises a graduate school and professional schools each of which may confer master's degrees and doctorates
2: the physical plant of a university"
Clearly, the University is a place for education first and foremost. Sports? Sure, they happen. Indeed, they can be taught to a point. There is the first hurdle in this discussion. Are you teaching these athletes the key training procedures they need to reach a professional state, or; are they paid members of the university? If they're being paid for their services, surely they can provide some sort of degree or certification of their knowledge. Oh, what's that you say? They're going to college to learn sports? To learn some other field once their bodies shun athletics? Well! That settles it! They're students!
But it's not that easy. It never is.There is great truth in that the universities have made and will continue to make millions and millions of dollars on the fields of athletics. Surely for most programs, after expenses, there is money left over. Fine. Put that money into an injury compensation fund for the student athletes. Most do have some form of employment, and boom, if they blow out their ACL, what will they do for a job? That's also a great argument on the other side. That if the athletes get paid, they wont have to worry as much. Where are their degrees? If they're not student athletes, they're coaches. Most coaching jobs require some form of degree or certification. At which point, the student part of student athlete drops off. Why aren't you in the NBA/NFL/MLB? The Answer: The National Football League and the National Basketball Association require three years of college participation for their future athletes. Major League Baseball is the lone hold-out of the Big Three American Sports to allow for non-collegiate participation.
If we allow the process set forward by the National Labor Relations Board to stand, then at the very least we should have the Northwestern University Wildcats compete not for the little college Bowl Championship, but in the dang ol' Super Bowl?! Come on! We want the Wildcats to ROLL over the competition! NO. It will never happen. The reason for that is almost ALWAYS brought up at College/Super Bowl time. In a fantasy setting, the WORST NFL teams are usually wagered by bookies in Las Vegas at being FIFTY or so times BETTER than the BEST COLLEGE TEAMS. So, according to common logic, the 0-16 DETROIT LIONS from a few years back would be FIFTY TIMES better than the current BCS Champion Florida State Seminoles or the Rose Bowl winning Michigan State Spartans. Would the Seminoles, Spartans or Wildcats like to LOSE FIFTY CONSECUTIVE TIMES to the WORST TEAM in the League? No, and quite frankly, if they did, they wouldn't last more than three or four seasons. These college teams, they're filled with children.
So what do you do about the problem of children wanting to be a part of the 'big time'? Make them go only a year or two? The Leagues already tried that. Make them go four? What's an additional year, especially if you're unionized? There are two real solutions. One: The Parents put their feet down and demand their children attend the university of the child's choosing as a student athlete, unpaid save for the students own employment or perhaps an injury compensation fund. Two: The Leagues undergo a MASSIVE EXPANSION EFFORT across the country (and Canada). Put some D-League'ers in the League to enhance upcoming player development. Promote some minor league teams to the majors. Throw Canada a ball; you ever see how tough they are at the hockeys?
Where you develop the talent is almost as important nowadays. (Wichita State? Pfft. I chose Michigan State DECADES ago.) Where can these athletes continue to develop their skills? Perhaps not the Colleges. The Leagues wont take less than 3 years collegiate experienced players. EXPANSION is the Number One Answer here. Maybe not even the expansion of the current leagues. I'm feeling a bit radical here, to show my support of the formation of NEW LEAGUES and DEVELOPMENTAL TERRITORIES in the sports of BASEBALL, BASKETBALL and FOOTBALL, not to overtly challenge their systems, but to give the children a chance at fulfilling their dreams as professionally trained adults. Why teach these sports if 90% will never play professionally? If one were to go to the colleges and their students with that number, such a current state COULD NOT EXIST. There is simply NO SUCCESS and LIMITED MONEY in a 90% FAILURE RATE. (Take that NCAA sports success story commercials!)
The Towns however, could deal with this. At least more effectively than the professional organization could. All they need is a bit of seed money from the UNIVERSITY to give them the right resources to start their own venture, let's say the CityLand Ventures. You've got the elders teaching the youth the concepts behind baseball, basketball and football, leadership, business and life skills. Then all that is left is the athletically educated adult, left to hone his or her skills on the field; to help a little boy or girl reach their athletic dreams.
What I would propose is a return to community-based systems of the old times. Challenge some of these ex-league members and their college educations. If they're willing to coach the CityLand High School football team (I'm going for a 'Brett Favre' on this one), then why not put the time in to the CityLand Ventures? They aren't 'in the minors', because you've eliminated that by supporting such expansive efforts. Neither are they as glamorous, since we've got the Unionversities and 'the minors' nowadays. The Leagues don't like these community-based systems though. Look at the NFL and the Green Bay Packers. NFL doesn't like the way the Packers are owned, which clearly goes back to the community. Expand your Community through proper research, education and enjoyment at ALL LEVELS.
What is more important here? What everybody KNOWS for a FACT is a CORRUPTED COLLEGIATE SYSTEM; or the development of youth into fine, upstanding adults, ready for the professional 'big time', having the ability to shrug off every creeping and corrupting influence put upon them? It's not just a battle of business versus education. It's a battle over the Purity of Youth versus the Corrupted Youth, since obviously Corrupted Adults taking on kids is, you know, bad.